31st Week OT (M)
Why are we called to be generous to those who cannot or will not return our generosity? Why – for example – go out of your way to help a neighbor who's lost everything in a house fire? Or help a family in another state who's never had much of anything to begin with? Right at the very bottom of the virtue of generosity is a simple truth that is too easily ignored: nothing belongs to you, nothing belongs to me. WE BELONG TO CHRIST! If you and I have taken on the mind of Christ; died and rose again in his death and resurrection; and now we lay claim to our inheritance to the Kingdom, then everything we are and everything we have belongs to God. Everything we have and are is for our use, sure. But it all belongs to God first. He gives it all to us, and we receive it all as a gift. This includes material stuff, talents, challenges, and even life itself. Christian generosity then, properly understood, is best practiced as a radical detachment from the things we use. In religious life, we call this poverty. And poverty, like generosity, is a spiritual exercise that develops our awareness of how deeply and permanently we are dependent on God. So, why are we called to be generous to those who cannot or will not return our generosity? Because doing so is evidence that we know and understand that we are who we are and that we have what we have only b/c God has chosen to love us into existence and to bring us back to Him when this pilgrimage is done.